Photo: AP Photo/Daniel Acker, Pool
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich got worked up when asked about the Occupy Wall Street protests at last night’s Bloomberg-Washington Post debate.Gingrich first sought to tie the protests to “left-wing agitators” before calling for the firing of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.
He then doubled down, calling on former Sen. Chris Dodd and Rep. Barney Frank to be thrown in jail, not anyone on Wall Street. Asked if he actually meant for them to do prison time, Gingrich said he did, alluding to past ethical scandals.
Watch the video below:
Below is the full transcript:
KAREN TUMULTY, The Washington Post: So, Speaker Gingrich, it sounds like Congresswoman Bachmann does not believe that Wall Street is to blame for the financial mess. You’ve said that the current protests on Wall Street are, in your words, “the natural product of Obama’s class warfare.”
Does this mean that these people who are out there protesting on Wall Street, across the country, have no grievance?
GINGRICH: No, let me draw a distinction. I think there — virtually every American has a reason to be angry. I think virtually every American has a reason to be worried.
I think the people who are protesting on Wall Street break into two groups. One is left-wing agitators who would be happy to show up next week on any other topic, and the other is sincere middle-class people who, frankly, are very close to the Tea Party people and actually care.
And you can tell which group is which. The people who are decent, responsible citizens pick up after themselves. The people who are just out there as activists trash the place and walk off and are proud of having trashed it. So let’s draw that distinction.
If they want to really change things, the first person to fire is Bernanke, who is a disastrous chairman of the Federal Reserve. The second person to fire is Geithner.
The fact is, in both the Bush and the Obama administrations, the fix has been in. And I think it’s perfectly reasonable for people to be angry. But let’s be clear who put the fix in: The fix was put in by the federal government.
And if you want to put people in jail — I want to second what Michele said — you ought to start with Barney Frank and Chris Dodd and let’s look at the politicians who created the environment, the politicians who profited from the environment, and the politicians who put this country in trouble.
CHARLIE ROSE: Clearly you’re not saying they should go to jail?
GINGRICH: Well, in Chris Dodd’s case, go back and look at the countryside (sic) deals. In Barney Frank’s case, go back and look at the lobbyists he was close to at — at Freddie Mac. All I’m saying is…
(UNKNOWN): So if he were… GINGRICH: Everybody — everybody in the media who wants to go after the business community ought to start by going after the politicians who have been at the heart of the sickness which is weakening this country and ought to start with Bernanke, who has still not been exposed for the hundreds of billions of dollars.
(APPLAUSE) And I’m going to say one last thing. I want to repeat this. Bernanke has in secret spent hundreds of billions of dollars bailing out one group and not bailing out another group. I don’t see anybody in the news media demanding the kind of transparency at the Fed that you would demand of every other aspect of the federal government. And I think it is corrupt and it is wrong for one man to have that kind of secret power.
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